A resident of Hadagan, one of the northern neighborhoods in Efrat, Gush Etzion, noticed from the balcony of his house surveying works carried out by PA Arabs in the wadi adjacent to the fence surrounding the Israeli town which is in Area C, under full Israeli control according to the Oslo Accords.
The video he shot (see below) and his report to the Regavim movement prompted an investigation that revealed that the village council of Artas, which is located between Bethlehem and Efrat, issued a call to area residents to “regulate their lands” inside the complex known to them as Umm Rukba, and in effect register the land with the PA registrar.
The public announcement was published on the council’s Facebook page and is reminiscent of the announcements of Israeli local planning and construction administration announcements. The notice states that construction and development work for residential neighborhoods are planned to be carried out at the site, and those who claim rights to the land there are requested to come and arrange the land registration with the PA.
According to Regavim, this phenomenon is taking place on a huge scale in recent years. The Palestinian Authority is taking advantage of the Israeli governmental vacuum in the open territories of Judea and Samaria, and carrying out a systematic land grab in Judea and Samaria, with an emphasis on areas C, while completely ignoring the Oslo Accords.
The procedure is led by the PA Justice Ministry and Lands Authority and includes land registration; division into blocks, plots, basins, and lots; inspection of land rights; and, finally, determination of ownership and registration of the land with the registrar in Ramallah.
When that part is complete, in many cases the same elements carry out planning and infrastructure works for electricity, water, and access roads.
“For years we have been demanding that the Israeli government wake up, and meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is setting facts on the ground,” says Avraham Binyamin, director of policy at the Regavim movement.
“The Palestinian State is being established in the heart of Israel right before our eyes,” Binyamin continues. “It’s not only the agricultural invasion and their breaking through the boundaries, and not just the construction on a huge scale with which we are familiar, but a well-oiled, lavishly financed system that works systematically to regulate the land registry illegally. The State of Israel knows all about it and is keeping mum. We demand of this government, as we demanded from the previous governments, to restore justice and establish an Israeli land regulation, the earlier the better.”